© 2021 WRVO Public Media
Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Politics and Government

Politicians, parents applaud Congressional opioid bill

Ellen Abbott
Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) talks about a recently passed bill that expands prevention, education and treatment of opioid abuse and reforms federal punishment related to opioid possession.

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) Friday joined local families and professionals who deal with the opioid epidemic to applaud passage of a sweeping piece of federal legislation meant to deal with that crisis.

Tina Socci of Auburn has lost two children to the opioid epidemic. This legislation headed to the president’s desk brings some closure, especially in the case of her son Christopher who died of an overdose almost three years ago.

"It’s helpful to know that other people are getting help out of this," Socci said. "When Christopher died, nobody really cared. They really weren’t doing anything, they just thought I guess it was stereotypical at the time, that they thought he was a bad kid. But he was a good kid. And now they know it’s a disease, it’s everywhere.”

The legislation expands prevention, treatment and education efforts and bolsters support for law enforcement. Katko said during an event in Syracuse that this proves that Congress can work together when an issue is important enough.

"It passed the senate with two dissenting votes out of a hundred," Katko said. "It passed the house with two or three out of 435. It was a celebration, and when it was done people clapped on the floor of the house. And that doesn’t always happen. So that’s pretty good.”

The number of heroin and opioid overdose deaths in central New York and across the state has reached record heights.